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Monday, August 15, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Heather Shepherd
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National award recognizes lifetime of service to health of N.C.’s children


Raleigh, N.C. — Thomas Vitaglione, MPH, will receive the national American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Child Health Advocate Award at the Annual Meeting of the NC Pediatric Society on Aug. 20. Vitaglione is a Senior Fellow with NC Child and an adjunct professor with the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.


“Tom Vitaglione is a true child health advocate whose drive and determination has led to policies that improve the health and well-being of children statewide.  He made such a tremendous impact on child health that the North Carolina Pediatric Society named its advocacy award after him,” said Elizabeth Hudgins, executive director of the North Carolina Pediatric Society (NCPeds). “For decades, he has been instrumental in shaping a myriad of policies to improve child health, access to health insurance, injury reduction and much more.”


Vitaglione’s career spans nearly 50 years and has been devoted to improving child health in North Carolina.  He was awarded the AAP Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and was also awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, a prestigious award granted by North Carolina’s Governor which recognizes outstanding service to the state. NCPeds recognized Vitaglione’s efforts on behalf of child health by naming its annual advocacy award the Tom Vitaglione Child Health Advocacy Award. It is awarded yearly to an individual or agency from the nonprofit sector for outstanding achievement or advocacy efforts to promote child health.


“Tom is truly an inspiration to all of us working to improve the lives of North Carolina’s children.  As I look back at the gains our state has made in child health over the past five decades, I can honestly say that many of those would not have happened without Tom’s persistent and skilled advocacy,” said Michelle Hughes, Executive Director of NC Child. “Tom is one of our state’s greatest treasures. We are indebted to him for his decades of advocacy and the positive difference his work has made for tens of thousands of children in North Carolina.”


For 30 years Vitaglione worked in state government encouraging collaboration among government entities, health professionals, advocates, nonprofits organizations and others advancing child health. His work helped shape policies regarding minor consent, newborn screening, and child death review. Working with many pediatricians, he was an important force in the development of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.


Additionally, he served on the Child Fatality Task Force (CFTF) from 1999 to 2011, including several years as co-chair. The Child Fatality Task Force, a legislative study commission, reviews causes of childhood death and provides recommendations for policies to reduce child death. During his time on the CFTF, the state began the Graduated Driver License which has been credited with reducing crashes of 16-year-old drivers by 38 percent and 17-year-old drivers by 20 percent. He has continued to serve as one of the leading child health advocates as a Senior Fellow with NC Child, advancing issues including toxin exposure, child abuse prevention, corporal punishment and breastfeeding promotion.


The luncheon will be held during the 2016 NCPeds Annual Meeting in Pinehurst.



Founded in 1931, the North Carolina Pediatric Society (NCPeds) is the state affiliate Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics with nearly 2,000 pediatrician and pediatric health professional members. Its mission is to empower pediatricians and its partners to foster the physical, social, and emotional well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.